Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells

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In this lab, we observed different prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and then we observed a termite gut to see the different unicellular microorganisms that it contained. The purpose of this lab is to observe living and prepared bacterial cells, then describe their morphology, observe and describe the primary features of the eukaryotic cell, and to investigate and observe the organisms involved in a symbiotic relationship. By observing these things, we are hoping to find out what we should expect to see in yogurt bacteria. In order to predict this, we must first know the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Prokaryotic cells are organisms that do not have a cell nucleus, or any other membrane-bound organelles. Eukaryotes, on the other hand, does have membrane-bound organelles, most characteristically, a nucleus. Perhaps the most important difference between these two cells is that eukaryotes have a “true” nucleus housing their genetic material, whereas the DNA of a prokaryote is not membrane-bound. While many eukaryotes do not have a cell wall, the cell walls of prokaryotes are usually formed of a different molecule than those of eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are generally much larger than prokaryotic cells, however, prokaryotes have a larger surface area to volume ratio which gives them a faster metabolism rate, higher growth rate, and as a result, a shorter generation time than that of the eukaryotes. There are two major kinds of prokaryotes: bacteria and archaea (single-celled organisms). All prokaryotes share four main structures: the plasma membrane, cytoplasm, ribosomes, and genetic material. Some prokaryotic cells also have a cell wall, flagella, and pili. Bacterial cells have three different shapes:...

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...aterials needed for this part of the lab include: a microscope slide, 0.5% sodium chloride (NaCl) solution, forceps, a termite, a coverslip, and a microscope.
First, place a drop of 0.5% sodium chloride (NaCl) solution on a microscope slide. Then, use a pair of forceps to place a termite in the drop of saline solution. Quickly place a coverslip on top of the termite and gently press down on the coverslip. Observe the preparation under the scanning objective (4X) of the microscope and locate the abdominal region of the squashed termite. Then, observe the fluid around the squashed gut tissue under low and high power for the presence of flagellates and spirochete bacteria.

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